posted 2 years ago

Warning: Eating While Driving Doubles Risk Of Collision

University Research Emphasises Risk Of Eating And Driving

Motorists that eat or drink while driving “double” the risk of having a collision, GEM Motoring Assist has revealed. The road safety and breakdown specialist says that this fact – that comes via Brunel University – proves it is a “distraction” to avoid.

Highway Code Says Avoid Distractions

GEM Chief Executive, David Williams, said: “The Highway Code tells us that we must avoid distractions such as eating and drinking when we are driving. That’s because anything that takes our attention away from the driving task will increase our risk of collision.” Mr Williams added: “However, too many drivers don’t see it as a problem to unwrap a pasty, sip a scalding hot coffee or glug from a large juice carton on a journey.”

Legal Consequences

A motorist that eats or drinks faces a range of consequences if caught. A Fixed Penalty Notice incorporates a fine and penalty points, the latter of which can increase the cost of motor insurance. Collecting an excess of points typically leads to a ban which can make it harder to keep/find employment. The motorist might alternatively be prosecuted under careless driving legislation where the punishments exceed a Fixed Penalty Notice. 

Slowed Reaction Times

David Williams added: “Driving is a complex enough task already, so trying to do anything else at the same time just makes the journey riskier because we’re not fully focused on the driving task. If something then goes wrong, we’re likely to react more slowly because our attention is elsewhere – and when we do react, there’s the food item or beverage to deal with too. Good, experienced drivers accept that eating and drinking at the wheel is dangerous - so they won’t allow these distractions to compromise safety.”

Tips To Stay Safe

GEM Motoring Assist has a few tips for staying safe on the road while ensuring the driver has enough sustenance to concentrate:

  • "Make sure you are always in full control of your car. That means both hands – and all your brain – on the driving task. Focusing on anything else is a distraction that will increase the risk of a collision. 
  • Plan your journeys so there’s time for snack and drinks breaks built in. 
  • Stop somewhere safe, such as a proper parking area or motorway service station. 
  • Don’t believe any drivers who say they can multi-task safely while driving.”